PANDIT NEHRU has raised the Slogan “Secularism in Danger”. His counter-parts—the Muslim Leaguers had likewise raised the Slogan “Islam in Danger”. Pandit Nehru knows to his sorrow and chagrin that the latter cry culminated in the “Two Nation Theory”. It not only created a physical and teritorial division, but rent asunder a homogenous people into two sharply defined peoples. The agony which the peoples passed through during this unholy process of partition, finds no parallel in the history of mankind. Will Pandit Nehru’s Slogan land us in another such catastrophe? I need not recount the various lapses of the Prime Minister in his attempts to stabilise his concept of secularism. He has never attempted to define this pet theory of his.
To constitutional lawyers the difference between a State and a Nation is well recognised. The States of America and Canada and the smaller one of Switzerland, contain heterogeneous groups of people. Nationals of various countries inhabit these States and have adopted them as their respective home-lands. Their loyalty to the State is unquestioned. Frenchmen, Germans, Italians and Englishmen who, in their origins, represented different nationalities have grouped them-selves into one nationality and are today proud to be known as Amricans, Canadians and Swiss. Probably Pandit Nehru is dreaming of this fusion among the people of Bharat, when he talks of secularism. The Englishman in America or the Frenchman in Canada has ceased to be a citizen for the land of his fathers. No Englishman in America would dream of dis-honouring the “Statue of Liberty” or the memory of General Washington or refuse to solemnly observe the “Day of Independence”. It is a historical fact now that people professing various religions or ideologies, can yet from a compact nationhood. But such diverse elements must conform to the ollowing tests, before they can merge as such:-
1. There must be a common national culture.
2. There must be a common national language including script.
3. There must be a uniform mode of living.
4. There must be a deep-rooted faith in a common heritage based on traditions and history.
1 & 4 are really complementary. Our Prime Minister however is blissfully silent on these quistions. He is probably dreaming of a ‘Secular State’ which does not postulate a nationhood. Different nationals inhabiting a country have never succeeded in evolving a common nationhood, unless they related their concept to a common cultural basis.
Barr. J.M. Chatterji
Britain and America in Pakistan
Clash of Interests